Following on from the success of Spooks Spy Academy created for season two of Spooks, the BBC charged Preloaded with the task of developing a new interactive narrative for the show’s third series. The new site was to appeal to its predominately male teenage audience, offering a fresh yet believable snapshot of the world of MI5, whilst being very different from the previous execution.
The experience is set at the centre of MI5 counter-terrorism operations, the G.R.I.D. To ensure continuity with the show the location was modelled in 3D using the set itself as reference, setting the scene and atmosphere appropriately. Actor Peter Firth reprised his role as Harry Pearce, head of operations, for whom Preloaded wrote and shot a branching script suitable for the narrative we had devised speciﬁcally for the interactive story arc.
Players are invited on an interactive narrative full of tasks and assignments with Harry there to guide them. Recruits are encouraged to keep coming back for new activities, to beat their previous performances in earlier ones, and to go head-to-head with the site’s community. During play the game measures the player’s accuracy, logic skills and response times. This data is then used to build a proﬁle of their abilities, predicting which tasks they will excel or perform poorly in, and then delivering video of Harry encouraging or chiding the player ahead of the next task as appropriate.
Players can choose to play in 'Quick' or 'Story' mode, the former offering the ability to play any game in any order, the latter requiring the games to be played in sequence with a full story-line. Players of the story mode are rewarded with a ﬁnale game not available to users who opted for Quick mode, offering that extra incentive to get fully involved with the experience.
The site quickly hit its set target of 50,000 user registrations, becoming one of the BBC’s most popular sites using their Single Sign On registration system, and soon went on to achieve double that.